We analyze if soy milk enriched with plant sterols helps positively against high cholesterol levels, and if they help lower LDL cholesterol.
In recent years, the consumption of so-called soy milk has increased and popularized, although as we have already commented on several occasions, it is not actually a dairy drink conceived and understood as such, but the most appropriate is denominate it with the name of soy drink.
In the scientific literature, everything has to be said, there are different lines of research that do not quite agree. On the one hand, the different benefits and nutritional qualities that soy milk provides are defended; while, on the other, some specialists doubt not only its properties, but also put on the table some of the consequences and effects that regular and long consumption would have term of soy foods.
However, the tangible reality is that soy milk has become an alternative to cow’s milk in recent years. While, as it does not have cholesterol, it represents an interesting reduction in its intake, positively helping to lower high levels of fats in the blood.
In relation to soy and cholesterol, and particularly soy milk or drink, its high protein content helps vasodilation, which hinders the formation of thrombi and in turn helps to reduce the absorption of cholesterol.
We must also name the presence of its popular isoflavones, which exert a slight reduction in blood pressure and in turn decrease the levels of lipids in the blood.
In addition to the benefits against high cholesterol indicated above, today we can find soy milk enriched with plant sterols on the market.
What are plant sterols?
The plant sterols (also known as stanols, phytosterols or simply phyto stanols) are compounds or extracts of natural origin which in fact found naturally in many natural foods, although in most cases, provided in amounts rather small.
For example, we can find them abundantly in our diet, especially if we follow a varied and balanced diet, since they are in fruits, vegetables, greens and vegetables, nuts (especially nuts), cereals and vegetable oils.
These sterols have the particularity of having a structure quite similar to that of cholesterol, but since our body is not capable of absorbing them, they tend to interfere with the absorption of cholesterol in our intestines. In this way, their quality is evident: they cause a decrease in blood cholesterol concentrations.
Therefore, we are faced with compounds capable of reducing total cholesterol and what is known as bad cholesterol (LDL), thanks to the fact that they partially inhibit the absorption of cholesterol, so that combining the consumption of plant sterols with a low-fat diet It can be of great help in lowering high cholesterol levels.
For example, a study pointed out that soy in particular could help lower cholesterol, even without adding these plant sterols to its composition. That is, without enriching them.
The main reason for this quality is found in the presence of a compound similar to estrogen in its composition, called equal, which would help reduce LDL cholesterol. And with a particularity: it would maintain HDL cholesterol levels, only reducing the low one.
How much soy milk should we drink for this benefit?
In this sense, some studies have found that drinking between 2 to 3 glasses of soy milk enriched with plant sterols a day would help to reduce LDL cholesterol by 10%, assuming the intake of between 1.5 to 2.4 grams sterols per day.